by Arturo V. Leon II as part of our Election 2016 “The Long Road to Nowhere” coverage
After continuous news cycles about the RNC’s Republican Debates we have finally arrived at the first of the DNC Democratic Presidential Primary Candidates Debates. The Democratic Debate will be held at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, NV with coverage on CNN from 8 p.m. until the debate is over. The actual debate is expected to kick off at 8:30 pm EST but with CNN’s handling of the second GOP Debate that start time is obviously flexible. The debate is between front runners Sec. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Democratic Primary hopefuls Sen. Jim Webb, Gov. Martin O’Malley, and Gov. Lincoln Chafee. Vice President Joe Biden has a podium at the ready if he decides to enter, however, that scenario is highly unlikely.
CNN personality Mr. Anderson Cooper will moderate the debate, while CNN colleagues Ms. Dana Bash and Mr. Juan Carlos Lopez will add additional questions. Since the event is co-sponsered by Facebook, CNN’s Don Lemon will be tasked with asking questions from Facebook users. The debate is expected to use the hashtag #DemDebate on social media including, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. As provided by RealClear Politcs the candidates are nationally polling [as of 10/13/2015] at Clinton with 42% of primary voters, Sanders at 25.4%, followed by Webb at 0.9%, O’Malley at 0.6% and Chafee at 0.2%.
With a smaller field then the GOP main debates, expect for Mr. Cooper [as was done of the second smaller GOP debate] to be able to push back against candidates in the form of follow-up questions and questioning the facts behind statements made.
What to watch for
- Unlike the Republican Debates expect the Democratic Debates to be much more civil. There are not larger-than-life personalities in this field. Everybody trailing the nominee-in-waiting, Hillary Clinton, want to have a conversation about issues but not attack the Clinton Brand, which is still very powerful in the Democratic Party.
- O’Malley, Chafee, and Webb need to make their names known nationally so expect them to take their time introducing themselves but also with less people in this debate they will have ample opportunities to take big swings.
- The most to lose and also gain is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. He is polling ahead of Hillary in New Hampshire, but no where else. He needs to introduce himself to minority voters, and prove to the establishment that he deserves their backing. The Democratic Party is between a rock and a hard place as they can not upset the Clinton Brand but are not excited about Hillary.
- Any personal attacks will be lead by Martin O’Malley, who’s progressive angle was overtaken by Bernie Sanders and the Clinton support he enjoyed as Governor of Maryland [he even backed Hillary in 2008 over then Sen. Obama] is obviously taken by Hillary herself. Therefore he has nothing to lose. Martin has shown on the campaign trail that he is willing to take Hillary on by name so tonight should be no different.
- Jim Webb will make a case for being the only candidate able to reach across to Republican and right leaning independents based on his views on the Trans-Pacific Partnership [TTP], guns, the Iran Deal, and his military background.
- Former Rode Island Senator, Governor, and Republican turned Independent turned Democrat Lincoln Chafee is virtually unknown but has pretty moderate credentials. Look for him to point out these differences but make no splash what so ever.
- Jim Webb, the former Sec. of the Navy and Virginia Senator, has a very moderate to right leanings for a Democrate [like Chafee he is a converted Republican]. Look for him to position himself to a Vice Presidential candidate to Hilary Clinton. His appeal to veterans, moderate independents, and men would be an asset to a potential Clinton General Election Campaign.
- Martin O’Malley will champion his progressive record in Maryland, however, if the debate opens itself up to attacks, he is very venerable due to a lack of popularity in his home state and the voter mandate against him via not electing his Lt. Gov. in a shocking turnout for now Gov. Larry Hogan.
- With a sizable lead, large support in the party establishment, and the backing of large donors, Hillary simple will beat the drum on her experience, her record on woman’s rights, and her foreign affairs experience as Sec. of State. Her co-opting of Sen. Sander’s more populist stances, even if they are flip-flops, will force him to either address her and attack her, which is a huge risk, or it will help solidify the appearance and media attention as the party nominee in waiting.
- Hillary enters the debate with the most debate experience, and will use that to pin Bernie Sanders to get aggressive, which may backfire on him and fire up her base of woman voters. This will then be used to kill his momentum as it will further prove he is not ready for a general election.
- Vice President Joe Biden will not appear. Although his absence will loom over the debate. He is smart to stay out of this fight and to see how the field shakes up after the debate. If Hillary is hurt it opens up a clear path for him to swoop in as the strongest candidate in the General. If she come out stronger and proves here that she can handle punches on her e-mail scandal and Benghazi [along with showing that she has clear answers to those two questions] then that path closes up for Biden.
- Webb and O’Malley, if they play there cards right, can position themselves for Cabinet positions under a Clinton White House. [Webb – State, Defense, Veteran Affairs / O’Malley – Interior, Agriculture, Education]. If Sanders has foresight he should try to get the support of Sec. Julián Castro and his brother Rep. Joaquín Castro. Look them up, they are the future of the Democratic Party. In fact, who ever the Democratic Nominee is, expect them to court one of the Castro brothers as VP.
- Prepare to be astonished at the differential between Martin O’Malley’s good looks, charm, youth, with how boring of a speaker he is.
We hope you enjoy the debate and that it adds to the betterment of Democracy and not the hindrance of it. Check back tomorrow for our post debate review. And make sure to follow us @LionizePodcast on Twitter for a live tweet of the @CNN #DemDebate. You can also follow along on the Lionize Podcast Facebook page to read our live tweets.